Every mama is a wonder woman for creating an incredible little one and now that baby is here, it’s time to tap into your superpowers with these nutrition tips for new moms that will help you thrive. “Your body has just created another human. This means you have given over vital nutrients and energy to your baby for the past 40 weeks,” explains Lianne Phillipson Dip, registered nutritionist and author of Sprout Right Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler. So while you’re exhausted and likely getting used to breastfeeding, don’t forget to nurture yourself with the vitamins, minerals and superfoods that will help keep your miracle-making bod charged up for motherhood.
Lianne recommends continuing to take a multivitamin and eating a nutrient packed diet to make sure you are getting enough nutrients including zinc, omega-3 essential fatty acids and calcium. She adds iron may be necessary depending on your blood test results during pregnancy (ask your doctor if you should be concerned) and if you were prescribed antibiotics during or after pregnancy, ask your doctor about taking a probiotic supplement.
If you are breastfeeding, count on consuming an extra 500 calories a day. Also, “continue taking pre-natal vitamins,” adds Tristaca Curley, a registered dietitian whose company, Fueling with Food, provides personalized nutrition counselling. “This helps keep mom’s vitamin and mineral nutrient intake high. Breastfeeding moms also need more essential fats and carbohydrates; try eating every 2 to 4 hours throughout the day including protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies.” When she had her littles, Tristaca kept energy balls packed with prunes (fruit and fibre) and nut butter (healthy fats) near her breast-feeding spots in the house. “So whenever I sat down to feed baby, I was able to feed myself.”
Lianne also recommends drinking a glass of water during every feeding and both experts agree stocking up with healthy and easy meal options will help boost your stamina. For quick eats, keep veggies and your favourite dip in the fridge along with store-bought rotisserie chicken, falafel, veggie patties or locally prepared soup mixes. Whenever anyone cooks, double up so you have plenty of leftovers or freezer-ready portions for last minute meals. These little things will provide you with the strength to endure long nights and enjoy daily snuggles.
While you binge-watch and breastfeed, try to resist ketchup chips and calorie-packed ice creams. Instead, add superfoods to your pantry that will power up your body and if you’re breastfeeding, nourish your babe too.
- Fibre. “While it’s not a typical superfood, having regular bowel movements after birth can be tricky and fibre from fruits and vegetables will help keep mom regular and also provide nutrients and antioxidants,” explains Lianne. Tristaca likes fibre-rich prunes which also help to keep your gut health happy.
- Probiotic-rich foods. “Sauerkraut, miso, kefir, Greek yogurt (which is also high in protein) and kombucha all contain probiotics. Probiotics may help to support the microbiome and immune system,” says Lianne. FYI: An optimal microbiome, or gut health system, supports an optimal immune system.
- Nuts. Eat them whole or in a nut butter for a necessary dose of healthy fats that your body—and baby—need and protein, a basic building block of muscles and organs.
- Hemp hearts. “They are a great source of protein, omega-3, calcium and iron,” says Tristaca. Add them to a smoothie, cereal or yogurt. Note nutrition tips for new moms isn’t just about consuming the right foods; it’s also about recognizing when your daily diet needs extra help. As you already know, your body is incredibly intelligent so don’t be surprised when it tells you that you’re not getting enough nutrients. Look out for low energy, poor sleep and a sluggish immune system. “These are symptoms of becoming a new mom, but if you find things don’t get better within the first few months, consult a dietitian with pre- and post-natal expertise for guidance,” advises Tristaca.
What happened during your fourth trimester? Tell us your story today.
- What drink or snack did you rely on to boost your energy?
- What guilty pleasure did you let yourself indulge in?
- While breastfeeding, did you notice baby react to anything that you ate?